Thursday, August 8, 2013

"The Cleaning and Scrubbing Can Wait Until Tomorrow"

It's a poem that is posted on facebook, repinned on Pinterest, and a piece of advice that's dispensed from mother-to-mother.  It's a poem worth acknowledging, but at the same time, it also made me feel frustrated and guilty (like many well-meaning pieces of parenting advice often do) 

I've come a long way since first having Jake, in that I've learned to let go of a lot of things around the house that don't matter.  The laundry piles up for another day because it's a beautiful day and we want to go to the zoo?  No problem.  I have it in my head that I'm going to clean the house on a Sunday morning, but instead the kids ask me oh so very nicely if I will color a picture with them instead?  I put down my dust rag when I can and assure myself that I can get it done at nap time.  Nap time rolls around and Jake doesn't actually fall asleep (which is the norm at this point), but instead asks me to snuggle him on the couch to watch a movie?  He's a 5 year old boy; I know the time for these requests is limited, so I oblige when I can.

So, as I said, I've been better about doing those things listed above.  Putting something off because I'd rather spend time with the kids when I can.  But the reality of the situation is that eventually those things DO have to get done.  You can't ignore the cobwebs forever. I can ignore some dust for a few days, but eventually it has to get done.  My OCD behavior has really improved, but I will never be able to overlook a dirty bathroom, no matter how hard I may try.

I found myself stressed out and tired on the weekends.  We'd do fun stuff during the day, then I'd either run around like a maniac during nap time trying to get some stuff done, or be up until 11pm cleaning and folding laundry.  Or, the opposite would happen...we'd have great weekend plans and have a fun time as a family, but then the end of the weekend rolled around and even with the best of intentions to get stuff done, we just didn't have the motivation.  It wasn't working.

You may be sitting there saying, "Well, where is your husband through all of this?  You both work, he should chip in!"  And he does.  He certainly does, and he probably vacuums more often than I do (I love my Dyson with all of my heart, but that thing is heavy!) But even with two of us, there are always things that need to be done. Or he has other things to do (because there is no way I'm volunteering to mow the lawn or weed the flower beds or any of that other stuff outside!) 

Now you may be sitting there thinking, "Oh you poor thing!  What a terrible first-world problem to have that you have to clean your own house, just like millions of other families in America!"  I know, I know.  It is a first-world problem, and I'll be the first to admit it.  But for me, it was a problem with one logical solution: hire a cleaning lady.

Fortunately, through a neighbor referral, I was able to find someone who was very, very reasonable.  It is HEAVENLY.  They have been to our house twice, and I've been very happy with the results.

After we made this decision, I almost felt embarrassed by it.  Not embarrassed because I couldn't keep up with my own home, but embarrassed that it seemed indulgent and unnecessary.  But then, like so many other things when it comes to parenthood, I decided I just didn't care.  It's working for our family, and as long as we can continue doing it, we will. 

this is what I look like when I'm not stressed out about my first-world problems.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mickey Mouse Money Saver

We are so very close to our Disney World trip!  No surprise here, but Jake has started talking about souvenirs he may want to buy while we're down there.  My mom and dad got both kids a disney gift card for Easter, so that will come in handy for him, but I wanted to take advantage of this moment while talking about spending money to bring up the subject of chores with Jake.  Up until this point, we've had a very loose definition of chores...Jake has been expected to take his dishes to the counter when he's done with them.  Sometimes he remembers, sometimes he doesn't; sometimes we remember to remind him, sometimes we don't.  Same thing with sending his dirty clothes down the laundry chute after his bath.

So, I figured the time had come since he had been talking about wanting to save up his money to spend at Disney World.  I made him a simple chore chart (with pictures so that he could understand what was expected and check on it himself) with these tasks: make his bed when he wakes up, clear his dishes after breakfast and dinner, and put his laundry down the chute after his bath.

I've struggled with this idea of "chores" in the past; Brian and I want to have him do these things, but haven't been sure that we necessarily wanted to give him an allowance for doing them.  They seem like very basic things that should be done without needing money.  But, the more we thought about it, the more we realized that maybe a small allowance was a good idea.  It gives him motivation AND it can start to teach him the value of money and the importance of saving up for things he may really want.  And obviously, the chores won't always have to be this basic; we're hoping that we can keep with these basic ones until they become habit, then as he gets older, add to it (Brian is so excited for the day Jake can help mow the grass) and he will then get paid for those chores instead.

So, back to the point of this post.  He wanted to save up some money for Disney souvenirs and also for the arcade that is in our resort.  I was going to start paying him a small allowance for those chores, and then I came across this great (and super cheap!) idea on pinterest:

Ta-da!  Original pinterest idea found here.  Breakdown of project:

Folgers coffee can: technically free, since that's the coffee we drink anyway.
Yellow paint: free, we had it from a kids art project kit
Foam balls: $2 for a 6 pack at walmart (I'm sure the other 4 will come in handy for some type of planet science project at a later date)
Black spray paint: free, already had it at home leftover from a project from Jake's superhero party

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...